In a feature last month I suggested that the absurd price tag of Chelsea's High Line park (now estimated to total $172 million by the time it's completed in 2011), could have been put to better use in a less wealthy neighborhood. An article in today's New York Post makes a similar point, noting that the park's operating costs are, per acre, easily the highest in the city.
Maintenance costs for the High Line are expected to be between $522,388 and $671,641 per year per acre, whereas the city's second most costly park to maintain, Bryant Park, needs $479,166 per acre, and the city-wide average is $9,555 an acre. The Post article, predictably, is very snarky, but God bless 'em they make some good points, such as those quoted after the jump.
The city has 11 parks enforcement patrol officers working the High Line's 2.8 acres now open. In comparison, only five PEP officers are assigned to cover all 6,970 acres of Bronx parkland and eight handle Queens' 7,300 acres, the city parks employee union says.
Meanwhile, Friends of the High Line's management staff features four people earning more than $100,000, including its co-founder Robert Hammond, who earned $280,000 last year and was the college roommate of former Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
Of course, they don't really discuss what kind of economic boost the park's half-million visitors so far represent, not to mention its aesthetic success and the likelihood that it will engender similar projects here and elsewhere. What do you think: is the High Line worth $172 million and $.5 million per year?
(via Curbed, photo by Nadia Chaudhury)